They Are Called Life Skills For A Reason!

Social emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. It is the process through which all individuals, young and old, acquire and apply knowledge, attitudes and skills to develop healthy identities, understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, appreciate others’ perspectives, establish and maintain relationships, make responsible decisions and handle interpersonal situations constructively.

In a CASEL (Collaborative For Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) study released in 2017 and covering nearly 97,500 students over an 18-year span, SEL interventions in students between kindergarten and grade 12 were found to have the following results:

  • 11% increase academic achievement
  • 23% had improved attitudes towards themselves and others
  • 42% reduction in physical aggression
  • 10% Suffered less emotional distress/mental health problems
  • 22% showed fewer conduct problems
  • 10% reduction in substance abuse
  • 50% more likely to complete high school
  • Twice as likely to get a college degree
  • 50% more likely to get a good job by the age of 25
  • Improved relationships/connections with others, and therefore, less likely to be bullied or left out (approximately 160,000 students skip school everyday in the US because of bullying)
  • Less likely to engage in criminal behavior

Very importantly, the study also suggests that students showed significant positive results regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or geographical contexts.

It has now become widely recognized by educators, policy-makers, governments and even employers that the benefits of SEL are at least as important as academic success.  SEL teaches necessary life skills for school, work, relationships and life, and promotes happy, successful, well-adjusted people who are better learners, communicators and collaborators, thus functioning better in group environments.  Research also suggests that there is an economic benefit to SEL with the average return on investment being 11 to 1.  The top ten skills identified by the World Economic Forum all involve social and emotional competence and 92% of executives surveyed agree.  The real test doesn’t happen in class.  It happens in the real world.

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